The 2023 NBA free agency period was supposed to be a hot time for the Portland Trail Blazers. Reality turned out the opposite. After no significant free agent acquisitions and the only hot trade rumor sending franchise superstar Damian Lillard out of town, the Blazers have been left to nurse their (admittedly nice) draft picks and wounded pride.
This week Bleacher Report author Andy Bailey released a post-free-agency NBA power rankings list. The Blazers didn’t end up at the bottom. That honor was reserved for the Bradley Beal-less Washington Wizards. But Portland did finish 28th, slipping from their 24th position before the annual signing festivities got underway.
Of the Blazers, Bailey says:
Damian Lillard’s seemingly imminent departure is baked into this ranking, but the Portland Trail Blazers are probably going to struggle this season either way.
Even when Lillard and Jerami Grant were both on the floor in 2022-23, Portland mustered only a plus-1.2 net rating. Put another way, the Blazers outscored opponents by a total of 71 points when both were in, a number that ranked 341st among duos leaguewide.
With all due respect to incoming rookies Scoot Henderson and Kris Murray, Portland didn’t add anyone this offseason who’s guaranteed to make a significant difference right away. Even good rookies usually struggle to add wins.
If/when the Blazers do trade Lillard, they figure to be in the hunt for one of the worst records in the league. When Dame was off the floor in 2022-23, Portland was minus-10.6 points per 100 possessions.
The news was brighter for the Miami Heat, Boston Celtics, and Denver Nuggets, who finished third, second, and first, respectively, in the rankings.